Kaine rips Syria strikes: What’s stopping Trump from bombing Iran, North Korea next?
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) on Friday tore into President Trump’s authorization of military strikes in Syria, calling them “illegal” and “reckless” and questioning what’s to stop him from bombing Iran and North Korea.
“President Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress’s approval is illegal and – absent a broader strategy – it’s reckless,” Kaine said in a statement. “Today, it’s a strike on Syria – what’s going to stop him from bombing Iran or North Korea next?”
Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, has long been one of Congress’s most prominent voices urging for presidents to get congressional approval on military action.
After a week of deliberation, Trump on Friday night announced that he ordered airstrikes against Syria in response to an apparent chemical weapons attack last weekend that left dozens dead.
Trump described the military action as “precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.”
“We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,” Trump said.
The Trump administration has maintained that it has the legal authority to carry out “surgical” strikes without congressional authorization. Most Republicans, too, maintained throughout the week that Trump would not need authorization for the actions he was contemplating, as it would not be an ongoing operation.
In his statement, Kaine described the strikes as “a new military front.”
“Last week, President Trump was adamant that the U.S. was leaving Syria imminently,” Kaine said. ”This week, he is opening a new military front. Assad must face consequences for his war crimes, but presidents cannot initiate military action when there isn’t an imminent threat to American lives.”
Congress, he added, should not give Trump a blank check to wage war.
“The last thing Congress should be doing is giving this president a blank check to wage war against anyone, anywhere,” he said. “We need to put clear limits in place before he starts another war, and I’m working to do just that.”
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